After much effort I finally finished Mikail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (Russian, 1967), which a student recommended to me years ago when she heard that I was interested in exploring how and why the “devil” becomes female in literature. This, my seventh installment, presents what may seem at first a challenge to the rule that the devil is feminized or female, at least at some point, in most texts.
I generally enjoy reading Russian literature of the 20th century but my first dance with Bulgakov had me shooting in all kinds of directions. I was enamored with his satirical imagery that often bordered on surrealism. At times he painted such vivid pictures of the most ridiculous acts and people that I found myself pausing to imagine these images as they would appear in a film. Maybe one directed by Maya Duren or David Lynch.
I waited a long time to get my hands on Nawal El Saadawi’s novel The Innocence of the Devil (Egyptian, 1994), I was interested in reading a novel by a contemporary Arab feminist/doctor/writer, and I also thought that this novel would be a nice addition to my exploration of the devil in literature. This review is the sixth installment of my “The Devil is a Woman” series.
“Um,” says Andrea Sachs, that boring and undeveloped accessory of the “devil,” Miranda Priestly who is the editor of Runway fashion magazine. “Um,” Sachs repeats as prominent literary people insist how eloquent she is. “Um,” shouts Andrea Sachs as I turn another page in a novel that appears to have very little to do with the devil or with Prada.
The Devil Wears Prada (American, 2003) by Lauren Weisberger is a novel that I have been considering for my World Literature class on the devil in literature (and includes novels that I have been exploring in my “The Devil is a Woman, but only Momentarily” blog series). Having finally gotten around to reading it, I will most likely never teach this text but it does make an interesting installment in my blog series as I continue to grapple with the devil and gender representation in literature.